[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to The Magazine Monitor, the home for many ever-popular features, including your letters and :

  • MON: Si's riddle
  • WEDS: Punorama
  • THURS: Caption comp
  • FRI: Friday Objective
  • SAT: 10 things we didn't know this time last week


    10 THINGS
    10 train windows by Filip Spagnoli

    Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.

    1. Smalls Lighthouse has but a 35-watt bulb powered by solar power - yet its beams can be seen from 21 miles away thanks to powerful lenses.

    2. Scientists who cloned an Afghan hound had a 0.09% success rate.

    3. The three Space Shuttle Main Engines use a lot of fuel. In approximately 8 minutes, 40 seconds, the three SSMEs burn over 1.6 million pounds of propellant (approximately - 528,000 gallons).
    More details from Nasa

    4. Temperatures inside the main combustion chamber reach 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt steel. Meanwhile, liquid hydrogen circulates through miles of tubing at minus 423F to cool the engines.

    5. Reebok, which is being bought by Adidas, can trace its history more than 100 years back, to Bolton.

    6. Jimi Hendrix pretended to be gay to be discharged from the US Army.

    7. Giant leatherback turtles travel each year from the Caribbean to Cardigan Bay in Wales in order to eat jellyfish found here.

    8. Researchers expect smoking to be virtually extinct in Australia by 2030.

    9. Among UK cities, Birmingham had the most industrial accidents in the 12 months to April 2005, followed by Leeds and Glasgow.

    10. Joss Stone's mother told her off when she addressed President Bush "George".

    If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it. Thanks this week to Stephen Buxton, Coventry.

    Your e-mail address
    Your thing and where you saw it

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


    Letters logo
    In response to Michael Miller (Monitor letters, Thursday), a step change is often defined as a quantum leap, although consultants refer to it as a complete paradigm shift. Hope that clears it up.
    Wigan, UK

    Some insight into "sea-change" would also be useful.. Apparently a sea-change is more profound than a step change. Is it something to do with Luxembourg?
    William T,

    Re: forced acronyms. I suppose you could say that a forced acronym is a "False OR Contrived, Especially Dull Attempt at Catchphrase Reinforcement ON Your Memory."
    Gareth Edwards,
    Stoke On Trent, UK

    We have a review of the national papers every day in the Monitor: maybe we could have some gems from local papers readers have spotted too. At the moment, some newspaper hoardings for the Croydon Examiner have the headline "My Uncle is an Oompa Loompa".
    Michael Hall,
    Croydon, UK

    I'm sure this is a forlorn hope, but does anyone have a recording of John Cage's 4 minutes, 33 seconds for the air guitar?
    Simon Robinson,
    Birmingham UK

    Your story Letter arrives eight years late, 4 August, makes me think there is still hope for *both* postcards...
    Clacton, UK


    The Friday Objective is still absent. If it happens again, we will be contacting the Friday Challenge to offer it its old job back.


    It's caption competition time. This week, the one that didn't get away.

    This record-breaking catfish - weighing 212lbs (96kg) - was caught by Duncan Rooke, left, on the River Ebro, near Barcelona. It's the biggest freshwater catch ever made by a British angler. It was released after being weighed.

    6. Evan Sketchley, UK
    "Err... Where are the boat keys?"

    5. Speed, Northern Ireland
    "Would you like your chips wrapped separately, Mr Prescott?"

    4. Craig, Beckenham
    Steve had a quiet chuckle when Duncan's blind date showed up.

    3. Candace, New Jersey, US
    "Carpe diem indeed, but I'm pretty sure it's a catfish."

    2. Paul Villa, Wales, UK
    Sellafield fishing club prepare to throw another tiddler back into the water.

    1. Karl Walde, Oxford, UK
    "Look, Mr Frodo, another trout!"


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    The West End musical Behind the Iron Mask announced yesterday that it was to close, only a day after it received stinking reviews. So let's just cast our eyes back to what was actually said. (For full 3D effect, try imagining these quotations as if they were on theatre billboards.)

    "It's so bad that it is merely unendurable... There's no insane flourish to its mediocrity, no sublimity to its awfulness. It is just relentlessly, agonisingly third-rate.... The cast perform as if they have been on a prolonged Mogadon bender" Daily Telegraph

    "Interminable... I would quite happily have volunteered for death myself to help speed things up... one of the protagonists is wearing headgear that gives him all the sex appeal of Hannibal Lecter crossed with a Teletubby.. Nobody comes out of this with any real credit... The sheer ineptitude of the evening bears all the hallmarks of the West End equivalent of vanity publishing. In this case it is not just a vanity project but a calamity project." Guardian

    "The lyrics are mostly vile and the sudden twists of behaviour would take platoons of psychologists to unravel. Sheila Ferguson... brings a bit of dash to her songs but, sadly, proves no actress....The two male actors are no improvement on her... a lot of plodding dialogue... a plausibility that would have Mills and probably Boon reaching for their rejection slips. " Times

    "Woeful... anyone who pays 43.50 for a ticket to this embarrassment deserves to be locked up" Evening Standard

    Ahhh the power of a well-crafted phrase.


    In Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz, you were back on top. 53% of you correctly identified that the ice shelf which fell off Antarctica was the size of Luxembourg (rather than Vatican City or Israel). Friday's Mini-Quiz is on the index now.


    Letters logo
    Thanks so much for your obituaries for all the London bombing victims (Victims of the bombings, 4 August). May their memory be eternal.

    How about a "Step-Change Watch"? I've noticed a very definite, ahem, step-change in how often this term is being used in the press and on the radio. Can anybody explain what it precisely means?
    Michael Miller,

    Derek Behan, (Monitor letters, Wednesday) you are in luck. Amazon UK lists three Air Guitar albums, each one purporting to be the best in the world. As they are the *only* Air Guitar albums in the world, it's very difficult to argue, really.
    Ben Paddon,
    Luton, England

    There are even how-to air guitar books on the subject; I recommend "How to Play Air Guitar: All the Greatest Moves from Your Guitar Heroes" by Steve Gladdis & Ian West (complete with free blow-up "axe" to practice with). The only area that hasn't been tapped yet would be compilations BY air guitarists (presumably on DVD) rather than FOR air guitarists
    Cheltenham, UK

    Does anyone know where I can buy a case for my air guitar? Preferably lockable - there's nothing worse than opening the case and finding that the instrument has vanished.
    Chris B,
    Bedford, England

    The Quote of the Day on the Magazine index is often very well selected. It's a shame we often have no context in which to put it though...could you not write up the whole story or at least provide a link to a source with more information on the story?
    Mark Taylor,

    In reply to Jane of Crawley (Monitor letters, Wednesday): I am 25 and seem to be well on my way to collecting all the furniture and furnishings needed for a house from various friends and relations without any prospect of ever owning a house in which to put them all. Maybe these mysterious fitted-kitchen people have a more advanced form of this disease?

    Today's Daily Mini-Quiz about the size of the collapsing ice-shelf was too obvious. The Newspaper Scale of Area runs: football pitch, Hyde Park, Essex, Luxembourg, Wales, Texas.


    Click below to see tattoo

    It's time for Punorama.

    The rules are straightforward - we choose a story which has been in the news, and invite you to create an original punning headline for it.

    This week it's the story that David and Victoria Beckham have marked their sixth wedding anniversary with matching Hebrew tattoos. The inscription reads: "I am my beloved, my beloved is mine".

    In a high-calibre week, this is the decision of the judges:

    Plenty of references to "tat-two" were ruthlessly rejected on the basis that the pun was in the tabs too.

    Proving that pun-lovers can always fall back on that rhyme made famous by Julie Andrews, there's SuperChav-a-Kabbalistic-Becksy-all-he-shows-us! from Robert in London.

    You're all I needle by Maggie in south London and Jew-ish you could wash it off David? by Michael Walsh in the UK drew chortles from the usually stony-faced panel.

    Biblical and Cole Porter references about in The scar of David from Gary in Chadwell Heath and I've got you under my skin from James in Cape Town.

    Full marks to James Rigby, Wickford, Essex, for Posh Tatty raises a few Hebrews and Jane in Manchester for Til' death do us art.

    Clever inking earns runner-up status to both Joel Wilkinson, Beaconsfield, and Kate, Hertfordshire UK, for Posh 'n' Becks Inc.

    But the winner is the Welsh and wise Helene Parry in Brentford, for the delightful Solomon grungey.


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    Much fun in the papers about the new waxwork of Prince William unveiled at Madame Tussauds yesterday.

    The Daily Mail points out that it's been made of harder-than-your-average wax so it won't wear down as people kiss it.

    The Express points out that it joins models of the Queen, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

    The Times finds a constitutional angle: why is there no model of Camilla?

    But it falls to the Mirror to get the real scoop, under the headline "A full head of heir" it says: "The bust has no sign of the bald patch that blemishes Wills' crown. When the discrepancy was pointed out, a Madame Tussauds spokeswoman admitted: 'We may have to review it in a few years.'"


    In Wednesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, 55% of you thought that 25-34-year-olds would, given a 20k windfall, spend the money on a world trip. Well you were wrong. The survey found that that they would in fact spend it on a new kitchen. Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the index now.


    Letters logo
    I was amazed at the answer of today's Daily Mini-Quiz [if you haven't yet taken part, look away now). Being 25 myself, I was stunned that so many 25-34-year-olds even owned their own house in which to fit a kitchen. I would be interested to know where the poll was take. It can't have been in Crawley!

    I was interested in your 10 things about slavery article. Very interested in the fact that although you mentioned that Britain abolished slavery first, in 1807 and that many women were involved in the cause, plus the peaceful rebellion of Sam Sharpe, you failed to mention one Mr William Wilberforce, an MP from Hull who made sure Parliament passed the act making slavery illegal. Without him, I'm sure any amount of women could have protested and any number of slaves stage demonstrations to no avail as none would take their opinions as valid.

    A new idea for The Monitor; "Lyric watch" where lyrics are utilised in captions with little or tenuous connection to the article. Natch. May I start the ball rolling with 'There is a light that should not go out' as used in Reprieve for 'Woolf's' lighthouse, 2 August. You may even be able to illustrate this by digging up a photo of Ricky Gervais holding a torch.
    Mark G,
    Maidenhead, UK

    Re: pathetic acronyms. Surely the Americans win this one by a mile with the hastily drafted anti-terrorism legislation passed in October 2001: "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" - abbreviated to USA PATRIOT Act.
    Neil Golightly,
    Manchester, UK

    Re: Air Guitaring (again). I wonder if any Monitor reader can tell me where I can obtain an Air Guitar Compilation CD?
    Derek Behan,


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    It's Ladies Day today, with the Independent, the Mirror and the Daily Telegraph devoting space to their favourite women.

    For the Indie, it is Bridget Jones, creation of its columnist Helen Fielding a decade ago this October, and returning this week.

    Her enduring appeal? "[Bridget Jones] made female obsessions with make-up, underwear, gossip and self-analysis seem rather sweet, likeable and funny. She allowed single urban women... to feel they weren't so much freaks as pioneers of a new social order."

    For the Telegraph, it is Princess Beatrice. To mark her 17th birthday, she sings the praises of her iPod, Orlando Bloom and her parents.

    "Just call me Beatrice. No one ever calls me anything apart from Beatrice. Except my mum, who sometimes calls me Trixie, Bosser or just Bea," she says.

    And in the Mirror, who else could it be but Naomi Campbell, who once sued the red-top. In detailing new allegations about the supermodel, its headline is "We will see you in court, Naomi" and in small letters, "Friend's vow after model 'hit her'."

    Now now, can't we let bygones be bygones?


    Looks like we made Tuesday's mini-quiz too easy - 74% of you correctly answered that a room classed as "tiny" at London's new easyHotel is just 60 sq ft, including bathroom. There's a new mini-quiz on today's Magazine index.


    Newspapers logo
    Your item on Honouring Ivan Noble, 2 August, is a great way to remember a brave and courageous man.
    Gerard Linehan,

    Reading about Eternal Planes, 2 August, I noted possibly the most pathetic attempt at forcing an acronym I've ever seen - Pegasus (Policy support for European Governments by Acquisition of information from Satellite and UAV-borne Sensors). Can anyone better this?

    In Blair 'plans to stand down as MP', 2 August, has Tony been replaced by a Japanese android? His eyes don't look quite human in the picture.
    Craig Sirel,

    Re:Paper Monitor, 2 August. I find the subject of air guitaring quite fascinating. One question puzzles me though, do the artists - in time honoured rock custom - smash their guitars after each performance? And how do they know they've succeeded?
    Derek Behan,
    Blackburn, Lancs

    OK, I admit to being dumb and down; but what *is* air guitaring?

    Kaylie from Runcorn (Monitor letters, Tuesday): I too have flirted with the idea of becoming a street cleaner to escape my stuffy office job. However, after passing a Park Keeper on my way to work the other day, I decided that was the job for me. Fresh air, natural surroundings, no supervision and the clincher...a sit-on lawnmower.
    Morgan Wolf,
    Winchester, UK

    In London at the weekend I happened to see a very smart car being driven round - it had the number plate JUL 7. It's hard to think of a more unfortunate plate to have.
    Brian Jasper,


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    Can the work of French philosophers explain why men and women do it differently?

    No sniggering at the back, we're talking air guitaring here, as doctoral research begins into that sweaty, alone-in-a-bedroom, turn-it-up-to-11 pursuit.

    PhD student Amanda Griffiths tells the Daily Telegraph that the time is right for her study - not only has there been a strong air guitar scene for many years, as a feminist she is curious as to why so few women attend events. And those who do perform differently to the men.

    To explain this in 60,000 words, "she will use the complex arguments of French post-structuralist theorists such as Michel Foucault and Marxists such as Roland Barthes", notes the Telegraph.

    The study was suggested by the UK's first professor in pop music, Prof Sheila Whiteley, who will also oversee a PhD into moshing.

    Who mentioned dumbing down?


    In Monday's mini-quiz, we asked which is the nation's favourite motorway, according to an RAC survey. The M4 got 49% of your votes, the M25 12%. It's the M1, which 39% of you answered correctly. There is another mini-quiz on the Magazine index now.


    Results of recent ballots on the Magazine.

    33% (the largest group) of readers think the new McLaren HQ is the year's best building

    31% of readers believe Big Foot is real.

    22% of readers consider themselves to be failures.


    Letters logo
    Faces of the Week describes Michelle Wie as the Tiger Woods of women's golf. Surely Tigress Woods is a little less wordy?
    John Thompson,

    Today's Paper Monitor is accompanied by a photo which is captioned, "Brosnan lookalike Douglas James". Can you tell me whereabouts in the photo I will find him?
    Mark Gillies,
    London, UK

    I can't believe street cleaners receive such abuse Binmen suffer 'road-rage attacks', 1 August. After 12 years in an office, I had started to like the idea of being a street cleaner. Out in the fresh air all day, no boss looking over your shoulder all the time, and you do everyone a huge service. The only down-side I could see before was keeping the anger I feel over the idiots who drop litter under control. I may have to re-think my career plan. Any suggestions?
    Kaylie, Runcorn,

    Last week in The discomfort of strangers, 26 July, Greek-Cypriot Marcus said he read the Economist and wore a Make Poverty History wristband so that would not find his Mediterranean looks threatening. Can I just say that he is now a legend, after his mention on last week's The Now Show on Radio 4. May I suggest that any Monitor readers who spot him on the Tube should shake him warmly by the hand?
    Michael Hall,
    Croydon, UK

    Have just been through the latest postings and am so pleased to see that British humour is still strong. I am 82, have been in this delightful country for the past 53 years, but still miss the old country.
    Ken Mills,
    Whakatane, New Zealand

    It seems that, as far as sales go, the Hungry Caterpillar is a Potter-killer!
    Herbert G.,

    According to your Bigfoot article, "There is a Yeti in the back of everyone's mind; only the blessed are not haunted by it." Now, thanks to the Paper Monitor, regular readers will have to substitute 'naked Boris Johnson' for 'Yeti'.
    Alan C.,
    Bracknell, UK


    Each Monday Si sets a riddle to get your brain working.


    Backward, stubborn animals swallowed one north-easterner (8)
    Crane's broken without one (7)
    Cattle surround young gentlemen initially (6)
    Terrible ringtone! (8)
    Two ewes reported in minimal mess (9)

    Send your solution using the form below.

    Your e-mail address
    Town/city and country

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

    Last week's riddle was entitled A Fresh Start , and gave a list of words: FLOAT, UMBER, POODLE, LAGER, THIN, STEM and TABLE. The solution was to create new words from those given by changing the first letters (a fresh start). Selecting the letters that then form a word down the left column gives:

    So the answer is GENESIS, an answer correctly identified by Michelle of Leamington Spa. Graham from Wokingham asks: "Does this means next weeks riddle won't be here ..(an Exodus?". Martin Biddiscombe from Harlow chips in: "Alternatively, the answer could be baby wig...equally a fresh start. Admittedly, boodle, yager & whin are unusual words, but dictionary.com knows about them." Twisted kudos to him.


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    There's good fun to be had with the revelation that in the next James Bond movie, the hero is not going to be driving an Aston Martin but will instead be tootling around in a Fiat Panda.

    Brosnan lookalike Douglas James
    Panda Pop
    The Sun's overriding concern is that Bond will find it hard to womanise in a Panda - the paper even treats us to an "eats, shoots and leaves" gag - but it also quote a movie insider as saying: "The new film is back to basics. They don't want a flashy motor. It hasn't been decided how many 007 gadgets the Fiat will have."

    So just to avoid doubt, it has helpfully produced an artist's illustration of a yellow Fiat just taking off from a snowy runway being pursued by a baddy, with extra guided missiles being fired from its bonnet. Nice.

    MONDAY 1 AUGUST 2005

    In Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz, 49.5% of you correctly identified that the wind speed in Birmingham during the tornado last week was 136mph. Monday's question is on the index now.

  • Send your letters to the Magazine Monitor
    Your e-mail address
    Town/city and country
    Your comment

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific